The Treaty signed on November 26, 2021 in Rome by Italy and France its aim is the establishment of a strategic axis for the Mediterranean and North Africa; cooperation and sharing of digital assets are, however, strategic in the balance of the new pact.
Not only geopolitics, but digital geopolitics
The Enhanced Cooperation Treaty is an instrument envisaged and encouraged by the Treaties of the European Union: it is an instrument through which Member States can promote bilateral or multilateral arrangements for regional or strategic issues of common, but not general, interest.
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The Treaty of Rome of 26 November 2021 aims to strengthen cooperation between Italy and France in strategic sectors and, in the background, the need to take the initiative, at European level, in matters of immigration and management of the North African crises is clear.
Not only that: industrial cooperation in strategic areas on an industrial and military level needed a framework agreement to create a connection in the areas of greatest contrast.
It digital development impacts on practically all the most important issues, starting, precisely, from security and defense (Article 2 of the Treaty), where it is provided – in paragraph 3 – that: “The Parties shall develop cooperation in the field of capacity building of common interest, in particular as regards the design, development, construction and support in service, in order to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the respective industrial systems and to contribute to the development and strengthening of the industrial and technological base of European defense “.
In other words, Italy and France want to be a forerunner in the study of cyber military systems in Europe, and they put it in black and white.
Economy and digital industry
On a strictly economic level, Italy and France have stated, always with extreme clarity, that they want to coordinate their efforts in terms of the economy on a European level, starting from the need to respond to challenges of digitization (Article 3, paragraph e of the Treaty).
The passage is even clearer if read together with Article 5 (Article 5 Economic, industrial and digital cooperation) which, in paragraph 3, states that “the Parties recognize the importance of their cooperation in order to strengthen European sovereignty and digital transition. They undertake to deepen their cooperation in strategic sectors for achieving this goal, such as new technologies, cyber-security, cloud, artificial intelligence, data sharing, connectivity, 5G-6G, the digitalization of payments and quantum. They are committed to working for better regulation at European level and for international governance of the digital sector and the cyber space ”.
In other words, the digital transition of the economy, also on the monetary and financial level, and the provision of a table for the study of quantum.
The question is more appreciated if we consider how the digital euro is being studied (on blockchain) and like the computer quantum can, in about ten years, completely revolutionize telecommunications and digital banking systems based on “traditional” cryptography, whether in current or virtual currency.
It will be a question of whether this cooperation agreement will actually lead to pooling of strategic assets suitable to make qualitative leaps to the research in progress, in one State and in the other.
If the challenge were won, Italy and France would place themselves as direct competitors of China and the United States, relying on European funds and the single currency.
Digital in civil society
On the industrial level, the Treaty has correctly identified also cooperation in the cultural field as a sector in which to implement digitization.
Pursuant to Article 9, paragraph 4, of the Treaty, in fact, “the Parties intensify collaboration in the cultural and creative industry in order to promote the circulation of creations and productions and to accompany the digital evolution of the sector . They undertake to facilitate co-productions of cultural works, in particular cinematographic, audiovisual and performing arts, and to evaluate the possibility of their distribution through a common cultural platform. They encourage mutual participation in major international events. They facilitate collaborations in the areas of live entertainment, design, architecture and fashion. They encourage the translation of literary works into their respective languages. They undertake to encourage the mobility of artists and authors between the two countries, in particular by putting the institutions in charge of training in contact and encouraging the development of residences “.
The sectors of common interest also include the protection of biodiversity and agriculture: in these sectors, however, no – openly – digital cooperation has been envisaged.
The Public Administration
Given the common intent to go hand in hand in terms of digitization, Italy and France have stated that they also want to share progress on digitization of the public administration.
Thus, in article 11 of the Treaty, paragraph 6 was inserted, according to which “in the context of the transformation processes of the public administration, the Parties strengthen their bilateral cooperation through regular meetings and joint projects between their respective public administrations on themes of common interest, in particular the training, digitization, the attractiveness of the public administration, gender equality, the evolution of work organization and the reconciliation between personal and professional life “.
The efficiency of the public administration is strategic both to reduce the costs of the State-apparatus, and to guarantee a better and simpler flow of data between the States.
Drones, cannons, cyberspace and cryptocurrencies, but also wine, cheese, ships, justice and culture.
There is one in this Treaty sum areas that, if negotiated, would lead to a Franco-Italian hegemony of the Mediterranean and the North African and South Saharan region.
But there is also the drive towards cultural hegemony, both on the agricultural-food and wine level and on the level of technological innovation, passing through digital finance.
Now it will be a question of understanding how much concrete action will follow the declaration of intent: the potential for a development of digital technology applied to industry and finance is, indeed, all there.
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